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Kelli O’Dell

Dr. Seidenstricker
ECE Seminar
Due 29 September 2014
Student Teaching Video—Reflective Paper
Watching myself teach a classroom of students has proven to be an interesting and
valuable experience. I have a new awareness of personal habits and classroom environment that
will help me to make changes and grow into the most effective educator that I can be. While I
feel the morning of my recorded instruction went smoothly, there is definitely room for
improvement. I have reflected on a number of small issues which will be addressed forthcoming.
Reflective practice is a habit that has become a routine for me since I first started in the
classroom. With lessons taught, I always reflect to myself and with observers such as
cooperating teachers, professors and supervisors. I often write notes directly on lesson plans or in
a journal to record ways to improve the same or a similar lesson in the future. This first
placement in Kindergarten, specifically, has made my reflective nature extend beyond lessons
taught. As a result of a tracked Kindergarten, we have been working with a group of students that
are primarily below basic and have significant behavior issues. My cooperating teacher and I
reflect every single day about our students’ behaviors both in general and in relation to
instruction, content and skill level. We are continuously brainstorming and implementing ways
to manage behavior and to help these children learn. With all of this being said, watching myself
teach really puts my thoughts into overdrive, making it enormously difficult to communicate
these thoughts in an organized manner. I decided that the easiest way to accomplish this task

would be to start with a description of the instruction recorded and then answer the following
questions:



Were the students engaged?
What are considerations about the format of the instruction? And how
effective were transitions?
What were the observed strengths and weaknesses in classroom management?
What are reflections on the instructional materials used?

There is more than a single lesson in my video. I chose to record Math Meeting and the
morning Language Arts block because the beginning of the day is a time when my students are
most focused and ready to learn. I included multiple short lessons because many Kindergarten
lessons are short. The instruction in my video includes calendar routines and simple math topics,
our daily name poem, an introduction to a new “Alphafriend” for the letter M (from a Language
Arts program we are using), a brain break and practice of letter sounds, a worksheet activity that
practices letter formation, identifying/locating, and making the sound for the letter M, our daily
“Cookie Stealer” name practice game, a short clip of additions made to our word wall (color
words), a brief modeling of illustrating and sentence-formation for Kidwriting, and a Kidwriting
conference with one student. The purposes of the daily name poem and “cookie stealer” game
are to help the children learn the names of the student in our classroom. There is also a focus on
letter sounds. Alphafriends comes from a Houghton Mifflin Reading program in which each
letter has a corresponding animal. Each animal also has a song. These Alphafriends are used to
study each letter and its sound closely. During this specific morning, we practiced locating M
and m among a box of different letters, we identified and colored pictures that begin with the
letter Mm, and we practiced letter formation. I briefly (and unplanned) introduced the lowercase
m as a “chicken” letter in comparison to “giraffe letters” and “monkey letters” (see attached).
The entire clip of word wall instruction was not included for time purposes, but we determined

the beginning sound of each color word and placed them in the appropriate spot on the word
wall. This transitioned into Kidwriting, as the children were going to choose their favorite color,
illustrate objects of that color, and write a sentence. I included a Kidwriting conference with a
child in order to show how we use our alphabet chart to determine sounds we find in words and
how we use the word wall to write sight words like “I” and “like.”
When evaluating my video in terms of student engagement, I was actually quite pleased.
Comparing my students’ behaviors and habits to what we usually see, I can genuinely say that
my students were highly engaged. I had to redirect them, as a whole, less than usual, and Mrs.
Prutzer and I discussed that this was possibly the best that they have ever sat on the carpet for
such a long period of time. Typically, 2-3 clips move down during carpet time, which tells me
that my students are definitely becoming more used to the routine and expectations. Engagement
up front by the word wall was not as focused as the carpet, but they still participated and listened
to me when I was talking. I make sure to always have their attention and remind them to respect
the students that are taking a turn speaking. During their table activity they were all working hard
(and on task!!!!). Usually there are a number of students that feel they can do what they want, but
each of them were working at their tables. This is why I rewarded them a class cotton ball. They
were highly engaged in the “Cookie Stealer” game and in the transition where they practiced the
alphabet. Even though it was not included in the video, I try to incorporate movement in many of
the things that I teach.
The format of instruction was typical of what we see each morning. We start with Math
Meeting, do a phonics lesson, follow up phonics with a practice at the tables, and then start
language arts back at the carpet again or in another location like the front of the classroom. We
purposely plan to change the childrens’ location often, because they have a really hard time

focusing when they are in one spot for an extended period of time. The rug time first thing in the
morning is pretty long, which is why I do Math Meeting first, then allow them to have some fun
completing and saying the Star Helper Name Poem, and end with the phonics. They were at their
tables for a pretty significant amount of time, but the table activity was split up into three parts
(locating, writing and coloring “M” pictures), so they managed to stay focused. On a morning
like the one in this video, when we are jam packed with instruction, I make sure to give them a
“brain break.” Sometimes it is a dance where they shake their sillies out, sometimes it is a yoga
video to get their bodies moving, and the one in this video was a song do help them practice their
letter sounds which are all accompanied by special movements. I also used this 1 ½-2 minute
time frame to pass papers out. Before this alphabet song, I asked the children to tiptoe to their
seats slowly (which changes daily). Sometimes I ask them to walk in slow motion, hop on one
foot, pretend they are on hot lava, walk on marshmallow toes, or sing a song as they find their
seats.
Classroom management is an area that I feel I am particularly strong in. I really enjoyed
reflecting on this video, because it showed me that there is definitely still room for improvement
in terms of classroom management. The big thing that I realized is that there are some children
that are always on my radar. I do have a great sense of withitness, but my eye is always drawn to
those who present consistent behavioral issues. What I learned is that I missed and never
addressed one or two children that were having a really hard time sitting on the carpet how they
are expected to. I did not even realize this until I watched the video and saw that I hadn’t even
noticed them like I usually do for the kids that I typically have to talk to. This discovery will help
me pay more attention to all children and make sure that I am having the same expectations for
all students. Strengths that I saw were giving the children time to get situated or readjust and

including transition activities like brain breaks. I constantly ask the children “how should you be
sitting” so that they can readjust if they are sitting inappropriately. I also instructed students to
“put peanut butter and jellies in their laps.” They grab their peanut butter with one hand, jelly
with the other hand, and smush them together to make a sandwich that is placed in their laps. I
also remind them “criss cross apple sauce….” and they respond “spoons (hands) in the bowl!”
Another strength that I noticed was the use of attention-getters like “Hands on top; Everybody
Stop” and the quiet sign to wait for silence. Not shown in this video was the use of the
Responsive Classroom attention getter “oh class,” “oh yes,” “class class,” “yes yes?” I did not
use the clip chart many times during the instruction presented in my video, but I do use it often. I
feel that I effectively used the clip chart when I sent “student C” to clip down after he was finally
given a last warning about staying in his seat. I also made sure to follow-up and visit the students
in situations where I had to remind them that they needed to raise their hands in their seats if they
had questions.
In terms of materials, I would have liked to have the letter formation sheet with the
animals either projected onto the screen or in transparency form. I did not originally plan to
include this, but as I was teaching thought it would be a great time to introduce these animal
letters. I did walk the sheet around the room for all to see, but I definitely think it would have
been better understood if it was large for all to see clearer. I plan to revisit this as an actual lesson
in the future. I included it on my video, because I knew that I would be able to reflect on it. I
thought all of my materials for Math Meeting, Phonics, “Cookie Stealer” and Kidwriting were all
prepared. For Kidwriting I made sure to have my marker, the alphabet chart (attached) and the
accessible word wall (attached) to guide the student in writing his sentence.

Overall, I felt that the students achieved most of the lesson objectives. The students
participated appropriately during Math Meeting, they defined the characteristics of the star
helpers name when we did the Name Poem, they effectively used Mimi Mouse to practice the
/m/ sound and to be successful in completing the table activity, most students used their new
knowledge of “chicken,” “giraffe,” and “monkey” letters to write their upper and lower case
letters, they used their knowledge of letter sounds and formation during the “Cookie Stealer”
game, they practiced beginning sounds as we identified and added color words to the word wall,
and they followed my model as they participated in Kidwriting. Each of these activities had a
clear focus, my expectations of the children remained high (and mostly fair), I incorporated a
varied number of activities including hear, say, see, write, and do, and I structured the morning
to help keep the attention of the children by changing their location and giving their brains and
bodies a break. I feel that all of these things reflect best practice. One goal I will work towards is
making sure I am aware of all children and their behaviors as I teach. Especially during rug
activities, I can do this by consciously and continuously scanning each row of children to be sure
they are all on task. Another goal I have is to work on some of my personal habits that I did not
notice until watching myself teach. Overall I felt that my language was appropriate, but I do want
to reduce the use of “so…” in my teaching. I also found that I put my hands on my hips often,
which I think is a comfort thing, but I am going to try to minimize that as well. I will ask my
cooperating teacher to remain aware of these habits and respectfully let me know when she sees
me doing these things. I think that if I make a genuine effort to be sure to observe every child
and to reduce some of my noticeable, repetitive teaching habits that I will be successful in
making positive changes. I will also continue to reflect on my teaching through journaling and
through discussions with and feedback from those who observe me teach.